Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Debut Author's Worst Nightmare

Imagine a world where everything around you shimmers with excitement. Where you have lined up speaking engagements that both exhilarate and terrify you at the same time. You have perfected the way to mention you have a book coming out in a few months with the perfect blend of humility and confidence. The theme song of your book trailer is the backdrop of your life and you just received 1000 pens two days ago, proudly advertising your work. Humming the tune to “Everything is Awesome”, you hop in your truck and head to work where you get to make a movie with a bunch of amazing teens. Life really couldn’t be much better.

And then your cell phone rings and it’s your agent. In the middle of the day. You answer it, confused, but not concerned. Not until you agent tells you to sit down. You are sitting down, but you’re also driving an F250, so, in your confused state you ask, “Well, do you think I need to pull over?” To which she simply says yes.

Your mind whirls with what could possibly have happened. Have you been downgraded to e-book only for your release? Has your release date been bumped? You turn on your hazard lights. You’re ready for whatever’s going to happen next.

Your agent’s voice rings through the cab of your truck. “Strange Chemistry is closing their doors effective immediately.”

You were not ready for that. Your response is completely rational. “You’re kidding, right? That’s not funny.” You double check to make sure it isn’t April 1st because that’s the only thing that makes this conversation even remotely plausible.

The images fade and you sit up in bed. It was a dream. Right up there with who shot J.R. and every book that’s ever started or ended with a dream. Everything is still awesome.

Except it isn’t awesome and it isn’t a dream. It’s real. You and a lot of crazy talented authors are the proud creators of orphaned books. You have woken up to the writer’s worst nightmare. Add the distinction that this is your DEBUT and what you really want to do is go back to sleep and hope the next dream involves unicorns and glitter cannons.

But avoiding the situation won’t make it go away. Neither will the wine, though that does help a little.

I want to be clear. I don’t have any ill-will toward the people I’ve worked with at Strange Chemistry. Amanda Rutter has an eye for talent and is an amazing editor. I hope another publishing house knows what a gem she is and scoops her up. Caroline Lambe has been such a pleasure to work with, answering my endless stream of questions. And my IU Alum connection, Mike Underwood has taught me a lot about the sales side of the business. I don’t regret working with them at all!

But, I would be lying if I said I was okay with this. I’m not. I’ve done the denial thing. You know, when you hope a knight in gleaming armor is going to rescue your publisher, or at least recognize that your book is actually literary genius in its purest form and make you an offer you just can’t resist. Remember, this is denial, after all. I’ve tried to do the angry thing, but I’m not sure who to be angry with. There’s no clear direction in which to aim my furry. This is, unfortunately, part of the book business. Lots of factors went into this. (Can you see that I’m currently in the rationalizing stage… trying to make sense of something that just doesn’t.)

I still have some more emotions to go through. I’m trying to avoid the depression by staying focused on what’s next.

It’s A Wonderful Death is not the same book it was when SC gave it a home. It’s better.

So what’s next? Since the rights revert back to me, my agent, Liza Fleissig, who has been amazing through all of this, will send the new and improved manuscript out on submission, with the blurbs and trailer and pre-sales information, and we will find a home. It may take a little while, but we will see the inside of a bookstore.

In the meantime, I hope you will all join me in buying Strange Chemistry titles and show my fellow pub orphans just how much you love them!

Remember, when life slams a door in your face, BE FEARLESS and kick in a window. Because there's something wonderful about nightmares: you will eventually wake up and things will be okay.

23 comments:

  1. This is a real kick in the teeth but I know better times are waiting for you. I hope your book will find a new home soon and you'll be giving inspirational speeches about not giving up at writer's conferences one day. Hang tough, lady.

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    1. Thanks!!! Not sure I would be able to get through all this without the Fall Fourteeners!

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  2. I am so sad to hear this for the authors, and especially the ones that had debut books coming out - I just couldn't believe it when I heard the news. Keep the faith - you've obviously written an awesome book - I hope it'll be scooped up soon!!

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    1. Thank you... from your mouth to the ears of the powers that be!!!! I'm glad I had a little time to process before everything went public!

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  3. Oh no, what a heartbreaker! Best of luck to you and your agent for finding a new home for your debut.

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    1. Thank you! I'm just so glad I have an agent to handle all this!!! Crossing my fingers that this is just a bump in the road!!

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  4. I can't even imagine how awful this would be. But if your book found one publisher (and if it's as well written as this post) I'm sure it can find another. Hugs and good luck to you and all the other SC authors.

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    1. Thank you so much. I (and the other author's) appreciate your support. I don't know what it would be like without the constant helpings of encouragement.

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  5. I was cruising through the Strange Chemistry tag on twitter and found this post. I'm so heartbroken for you, yours was one of the upcoming SC releases I was most looking forward to. I hope It's a Wonderful Death finds a new home soon.

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    1. Aww!! Thank you!!! I hope this is not the end of It's A Wonderful Death, especially when there are so many who still want a chance to read it. Cross your fingers and toes that we find a new home and soon! I really hope you love it as much as I do when IAWD comes out!!!

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  6. So much sympathy and all the luck in the world with your book, and whatever you write next too. *hug*

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    1. Gwenda!!! Thank you so much. I can't tell you how amazed I have been by the fantastic authors who have given me support even when their own futures are up in the air! You are an amazing writer and I know there are going to be tons more books with your name on the cover sooner rather than later!!!

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope It's A Wonderful Death goes on to even bigger and better things, though I know this sentiment doesn't help much when you're having to deal w/everything still being all fresh and painful. Take care of yourself, lady, you completely deserve some extra special pampering!

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    1. Actually, the sentiments are what make it easier to deal with this. Every time I think I'm about to fall apart, twitter tweets at me and someone is lifting me up with kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a message. And I will see you extra pampering and raise you a day at the spa once we find a new home for IAWD!!!

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  8. Wishing you the best and a great home for your book!

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    1. Thanks, Kristen! Keep an eye out on this blog for news about IAWD's future!! We're crossing fingers and toes that we get good news soon! Into he meantime, send a tweet our raving about your favorite book of all time or right now. Turns out, authors are fragile creatures and support from their fans is so important. If that author happens to be an SC author, you might want to give them a *fist bump* of solidarity!

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  9. That's unfortunate. But on the bright side, at least the rights are reverting to you. I've heard horror stories of publishers that went down and kept the rights, or publishers who went bankrupt and ended up selling the rights off to satisfy their creditors.

    This is a really hard time for publishers in general. Perhaps you should consider looking into self-publishing, especially since your book has already been polished in its time with Strange Chemistry. Not definitely saying you should, but at least you might do some research and consider it as an option.

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    1. Chris,

      Yes, we are very lucky to get the rights back, but it's stilt stinks. We're actually getting ready to take IAWD on submissions again. While self-publishing is a viable option, right now, I'm thinking about distribution and library access, so I'm hoping a traditional publisher will see this as a chance to pick up a literary gem. ;) But thank you for your words of support! They mean a lot!

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    2. Smashwords is bringing self-published e-books to libraries, you know. But self-publishing certainly isn't for everyone, which is why I don't push it as a one-size-fits-all solution but rather something to be considered. Wherever you end up with it, good luck!

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  10. Sorry. This is a royally crappy situation. Hopefully this will all just be a blip in your literary career when your book gets picked up again. I can't wait to read It's A Wonderful Death when it's out.

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    1. Kimberly,

      Thank you. For the shocking events of the last three days, there has been some really cool things happening, including me getting a chance to interact with people who are still looking forward to IAWD coming out... and it will. I don't want to pull a Scarlett looking down on Tara moment here, but I have an amazing agent and friends and strangers alike who are still buying IAWD... I thinks we're going to come through this okay! Again thank you for your comments! They mean a lot!

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  11. I am so sorry you've had this experience. It sounds like you have everything in hand, though, to find a new home for IAWD. Best wishes to you.

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  12. I had no idea they even closed! I'm heart-broken for the authors. What a sad turn of events.
    I understand completely what you're going through after my own attempt at working with a small press, but at least you have an agent who can help you move forward. Good luck and I hope you find a new home for your book soon!

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